DeMar DeRozan to the Lakers? The latest Chicago Bulls free agency rumors

The Chicago Bulls have started NBA free agency with a handful of needs. 

One of the needs is figuring out what to do with some of their veterans players, like DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. 

Cue the rumor mill.

Here's a look into some of talk around what could happen with the Bulls during the free agency period.

DeRozan to the Lakers? 

On Sunday, it was reported LeBron James intends to opt out of his $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. This makes him a free agent, but multiple reports have said there's an expectation James will return to the Lakers on a team friendly deal that could add a veteran or two.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported DeRozan is a player that the NBA's all-time leading scorer would take a pay cut to acquire.

"I think DeMar DeRozan is on that list," Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast. "There may be another one or so."

ESPN's Lakers reporter Dave McMenamin reported James, who opted to decline his player option, would take a pay cut if it meant the Lakers could land another star player alongside him and Anthony Davis. 

DeRozan could be that player, especially now the Chicago Sun-Times has reported DeRozan will not return to the Bulls after their most recent moves.

Some names that were floated before Monday were James Harden, Klay Thompson and Jonas Valančiūnas. Harden will return to the Los Angeles Clippers, while Valančiūnas has reportedly agreed to terms with the Washington Wizards. Thompson, the second of Golden State's "Splash Brothers" alongside Steph Curry, is reportedly gaining momentum to join the Lakers.

Still, DeRozan is a player that could change the look of the Lakers.

While he wouldn't bring youth to the roster, he'd bring some of the best consistency in the league to his hometown team in the Lakers. The Lakers, who have struggled with injuries to James, Davis, D'Angelo Russell and other rotational players, would get a player known for his ability to stay healthy and score at multiple levels.

Even at 34-years old, DeRozan was highly productive last season, averaging 24.0 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.

DeRozan heading to Los Angeles, or another team for that matter, would mean the Bulls could have a chance to get something in return.

A sign-and-trade involving DeRozan would immensely help the Bulls this offseason, especially if it means taking a step towards making other moves. 

That trade could net a younger player that aligns with the Bulls' youth movement this offseason. Or it could net a first-round pick in a future draft the Bulls could use to sweeten a deal should a team express interest in Zach LaVine.

What is LaVine's trade market?

LaVine is a high-volume scoring player that could benefit a team like Miami or Sacramento, but his massive contract makes him difficult to move. Adding draft capital to the deal would make it easier.

The Bulls have reportedly tried to move LaVine this weekend, offering him to the Golden State Warriors for Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins. Both were players Golden State was reportedly trying to move, but the return wasn't enough for the Warriors.

Golden State declined and waived Paul.

"They didn't feel that was an adequate amount for a deal structure, so things didn't go as planned," Haynes reported Sunday on NBA TV's "Free Agent Fever." "That fell through, which led to the Golden State Warriors choosing to release Chris Paul."

That's difficult for the Bulls. ESPN's Bobby Marks also had an offering with a difficult pill to swallow.

"There is no market for Zach Lavine," Marks said on ESPN. "They are trying to give him away and attach a first round pick. I’ve been told that by multiple, multiple people."

The Bulls have had a youth movement, trading for 21-year-old Josh Giddey, drafting 19-year-old Matas Buzelis and signing 24-year-old Jalen Smith to a three-year deal.

There's still a road for the Bulls to be competitive without DeRozan and LaVine – the Bulls made it to the Play-In Tournament without LaVine – but they'll need to make more moves to match the scoring production the two leave behind.

Like Artūras Karnišovas said last week, the Bulls might look completely different in two weeks. This is the start of it.


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